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Full text of "My Country And My People"

THE    ARTISTIC    LIFE                     $85

formal style of calligraphy, and Han Yti in prose* Wang Wei
was born in 699, Wu Taotzu about 700, Li Po in 701, Yen
Chench'ing in 708, Tu Fu in 712, Han Yii in 768, Po Chuyi in
772, and Liu Chungyiian in 773—all first-class names in
Chinese history. And in this century, too, a beauty of beauties,
Yang Kweifeij was born to keep the Emperor company and
grace the court with the poet Li Po. Xor was this period
distinguished by peace, either.

However that may be, the "southern school" came into
being, and it is the southern school that we are primarily
interested in, as being most peculiarly Chinese. This type of
painting became known as the "scholars' painting," and later
on in the eleventh century, under the influence of Sung
scholars like Su Tungp'o (1035-1101), Mi Fei (1050-1107)
and his son Mi Yiijen (1086-1165), it reached still greater
simplicity and subjectivity. It was also known as "literary
men's painting." Su Tungp'o even painted a bamboo tree
without its joints, and when someone protested, he replied by
asking, "Did the bamboo grow by adding one joint to another?"
Su, who \vas a great writer and poet, specialized in painting
bamboos, and he was so fond of them that he once said, "I
would rather go without meat in my meals than go without
bamboos in my house." His bamboo was, like his "drunken
style" of "running script," a splash of ink without colours;
and his manner of painting was to get drunk and, after dinner,
under the stimulation of alcohol when his spirit was heightened,
dip his brush in the ink and write characters, or bamboos, or
poetry as the inspiration came—it did not matter which.
Once, in such a state, he scribbled a poem on his host's wall,
which is hardly translatable: "Sprouts come from my dry
intestines, moistened by wine, and from my lungs and liver
grow bamboos and rocks. So full of life they grow that they
cannot be restrained, and so I am writing them on your snow-
white wall." For now painting was no longer "painted," but
"written" like characters. Wu Taotzu, too, often did his
paintings under the inspiration of wine or of his friend's sword-
dance, whose rhythm he incorporated into his work. It is
evident that work done under such momentary stimulation
could have been accomplished only in a few strokes or a few